Mastodon The Writing Desk: Special Guest Post by Charles Edward Williams, Author of The Dacian Enigma (Vialegio Book 1)

18 October 2021

Special Guest Post by Charles Edward Williams, Author of The Dacian Enigma (Vialegio Book 1)

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

The sly deceit and deception of the Dacian King unleashes an Emperor's revenge. A soldier learns the wily crafts of war and politics as he rises through the ranks of the legendary Legion of Gemina. Overreaching ambition lays the framework for fissures within the Roman Empire.

Like millions before me I was struck by the sheer beauty and antiquity in Rome during a visit. As a knowledgeable tour guide led my wife and I up the rather narrow and deeply worn down stone steps of the imposing Colosseum, a masterpiece built by the Emperor Vespasian and in antiquity known as the Flavian Amphitheater, I began to sense and grasp the hidden terrors that lurked within the formidable structure. 

Thousands of exotic animals and countless numbers of captives, criminals and indeed innocents had bled out on the arena sands during monstrous acts of murderous bacchanalian entertainment for the citizens. I recall shuddering as an innate sense of their suffering seized my thoughts. I shrugged the malevolent feelings aside as we strolled towards the rebuilt Arch of Titus. 

The magnificent Arch commemorated his subjugation of Jerusalem and the friezes depict the humiliation of the Jews. The guide told of the obligation of Jews entering Rome that they had to pass through the Arch to show their obesiance to Roman Rule. The thought struck me again as to the brutal power of the Roman military machine to capture vast tracts of territory to construct their Empire. 

A feeling of brutal power and sadness and nothing more . I strolled on towards the side of the magnificent Arch. Suddenly, a jet black raven flew over overhead. I felt as if a soldier’s voice pleaded from the blood soaked stone and sands of the Empire to not be forgotten. Reduced to dry splintered bone dust his spirit may have been lofted up by that striking and malevolent bird. 

The first thought of writing a soldier’s tale in the Legions began to form within my mind. Lurching as I nimbly navigated the huge, dark uneven flagstones of the Roman Forum, I began to visualise a character whom I named Cletus, a simple farmer’s son born blessed with physicality and a strong sense of valour. The walk during the spitting misty rain consolidated my commitment to telling the soldier’s incredible story as he rose within the Legion Gemina and saw service during the imperium of the fascinating Emperor Trajan, a soldier Emperor whose indomitable will ensured that the Empire raised itself to its largest extent. 

Frustrated by Dacia on the eastern frontier where agreements were sullied by multiple transgressions Trajan sought to subdue and subjugate the region once and for all. The Dacian Enigma, my first book in the Vialegio Series tells the soldier’s tales during the expansionary eastern frontier campaigns of Emperor Trajan. 

Follow the Centurion Cletus on further adventures in the second Vialegio Series book - The Arc of Dacicus, set during the Parthian and Arabian campaigns. 

Charles Edward Williams
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About the Author

Charles Edward Williams lives in Dunedin, a coastal university city in the South Island of New Zealand. His abiding interest in the first two centuries CE of the early Roman Empire led the author to relate a soldier’s tale. The author’s aim is to provide the reader with an enjoyable holiday read and to enable them to share the thoughts and dreams of this remarkable period through the eyes and thoughts of a soldier serving in the legion. Find out more at and find Charles on Twitter @LegioVia

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